ABC Houston Visits The Hill

Each year, ABC members join as one powerful voice to inform congress about the issues affecting the construction industry and to showcase the opportunities and diversity ABC members contribute to our industry and the economy. The Greater Houston Chapter sent six business leaders to meet with congress and tell them about their own businesses and share the obstacles and successes of the Texas business environment. Facts and bill numbers were recited, but the story of local businesses improving the quality of these congressional districts proved to have the most profound impact. Facts tell and stories sell. There are thousands of special interest groups competing for the ear of congress each session, and it is important for these groups to inform and keep lawmakers accountable for their own industry. Although the Supreme Court decisions stole the spotlight, ABC Houston had an agenda of topics important to the future of the construction industry.

“Ambush” Election Rule
In 2014, the NLRB issues a controversial final rule overhauling its procedures for union representation changing the union election process by reducing the amount of time from petition to election from a median of 38 days to 14. In addition this rule requires that employers hand over their employee’s names, home addresses, and phone numbers. ABC is actively fighting these new rules by supporting the defunding of the ruling from the appropriations committee, passing of H.R. 1768 which prevents the rule from taking affect, and in the courts right here in Texas through a lawsuit between ABC of Texas and the NLRB.

Crystalline Silica OSHA Rule
In April, the new silica ruling has taken affect and will ultimately cost the industry $5 billion annually. This new OSHA regulation requires contractors to lower silica levels in their workplaces to unreasonable levels without proof that is technological and economically feasible. ABC is contacting appropriation committee members in congress to limit OSHA’s funding for the silica ruling.

Project Labor Agreements
Project Labor Agreements need to be removed from federal contracting. Union contractors only make up 13.9% of the market and cost on average 12-18% more per project, which comes from the American tax payers dollars. Government-mandated PLAs act as a special interest kickback to politically powerful labor unions and prevent competitive bids that provide the highest quality work for the best price.

Tax Reform
Three fourths of contractors are structured as a “pass-through” entity which pays an average of 12% more taxes per year than other U.S. C-Corps. These inconsistent tax categories along with the ACA surtax, means some construction companies are paying up to 44% in corporate taxes per year. ABC is in support of comprehensive tax reform by repealing the Estate tax, increasing and indexing the Completed Contract Method threshold and opposes any proposal that widens the statutory rate gap between pass-through entities and large corporations. Taxes are a necessity, but all companies should be treated equal no matter of size or industry.

ABC Houston spoke to each Texas Representative informing them of the issues above. Some Reps were knowledgeable, however many were not aware the problem existed. The construction industry needs leaders who will be the voice for ABC and its members. Taking the time to attend an ABC Legislative Week is a rewarding investment for yourself, your business and the industry. Next summer, ABC Houston will be back in Washington DC walking the long marble halls of our nation’s capitol making the industry a better place. Make the investment and come join us in 2016!

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